Credit Suisse, in a report to clients, suggests that while the English Premier League contracts are still up in the air the market can relax about any prospects of a ‘super-merger’ between BSkyB, Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia. The original thought came from a report from UBS a few days ago.
Indeed, the Credit Suisse media team says that the idea currently is somewhat far-fetched, and “it makes little sense to expect any Merger or Acquisition activity ahead of the Premier League auction, scheduled for next winter.
Nevertheless, the market is still nervous about BSkyB and speculation that a wealthy heavy-hitter such as Vodafone could come in and steal the asset away from Rupert Murdoch’s clutches. UBS also mentioned O2 as being a possible suitor for Sky’s broadcasting portfolio.
Of course, the reverse scenario is also true. A revitalised BSkyB, helped by increased profitability from products such as Adsmart, Sky Go, NowTV and the other established Sky revenue centres (Sky+, Multiroom, etc) could still be an attractive prospect even ahead of the EPL auction.
One pundit suggested that Sky Europe, comprising BSkyB, Sky-D and Sky-Italia could itself buy (targeting O2, Telefonica or Vodafone) or create a cellular product and become a true Quad-Play prospect – and on a European scale, and could then begin to call the negotiating shots for sports, movies and traditional TV content.
To those readers who believe this is all wishful thinking then simply go back a few years (to 2001) when ‘Sky Global’ was a planned umbrella company (headed by Chase Carey). At the time it was suggested that Lachlan Murdoch could run the business (which at the time included a 22 per cent stake that BSkyB held in Kirch Group’s Premiere World). The Sky Global idea at the time was to add BSkyB, Star TV, Foxtel and Sky Latin America. That potential mix has changed somewhat, but “never say never” is our advice in any plans that involve Rupert Murdoch.